As the name says, it includes foods with super health qualities, nutrient-rich and natural. There is no technical term or definition to describe these but they are the foods which are associated with the multiple benefits that they offer. They give you a healthy boost along with a wholesome nutritional punch. Superfoods are considered to be extremely beneficial for health and body being nutrient dense. They come in a variety of forms and sources which include protein from the plant as well as animal sources, fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods. Superfoods have been studied to have a positive effect on your body.
Superfoods contain high doses of
- Amino acids
- The high amount of fiber
Unlike most of the healthy foods that contain only two to three nutritional properties specifically, superfoods often have 12 or more nutritional qualities.
It is not necessary that all known Superfoods contain the above mentioned nutritional values in equal measures, but it is obvious that some of them may contain more protein where others would be rich in an amount of fiber. Most importantly, what is common in all the superfoods is that they provide you nutrition. Adding them to your daily diet has a positive effect on your mind and body.
What makes Superfoods more important?
The modern diet in this modern world is not at all nutritious as is sold in abundance as unhealthy foods that are easier to prepare and quicker to eat. People are avoiding healthy eating and constant binging on unhealthy food is causing health issues and weakening the immune system, more significantly the emotional state of an individual is getting affected. Therefore it has become necessary to create awareness about healthy eating and including a daily diet that includes superfoods. These give your body the required energy boost to stay healthy.
Each superfood is unique owing to its specific characteristics offering health benefits.
- They can help in improving physical and mental state of well-being termed as “health”.
- They increase the body’s abilities to fight diseases as they have proven immune system strengthening effects.
- They help in weight loss as they are known for their calorie-burning effects and increasing metabolism.
- They help in rejuvenation of the skin due to the presence of high antioxidants and vitamin Clevel contained in them.
There is a long list of superfoods available in the market. The idea of eating superfood is not to eat them in high and extreme amounts, but to include them in your daily diet to reap their benefits. Including only a few of the superfoods in your diet is not at all great, but following a healthy nutritious diet will overall be beneficial and good for sustained energy, wellbeing, and health of course.
Here, few superfoods are listed with their nutritive benefits:
This is often the cheapest and most available superfood which is nutrient dense. It contains rich quantities of vitamin B6, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, potassium, dietary fibers and quantities of folate. Bananas also contain plant sterols that are linked directly to heart health, soluble pectin and fructooligosaccharides are two available types of fiber which help in the growth of friendly gut bacteria and keep gut problems away.
Nuts and seeds
These are rich in omega 3 fatty acids- also called good fats and minerals. Although they are high in calories but a handful of them are beneficial for your health. These include Almonds, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pistachios and pecans whereas the pumpkin and sunflower seeds etc. are counted great for health too. These are a rich source of dietary fiber promoting regular bowel movements. Flaxseeds are also seeds promoting heart health just like walnuts. Including them in the daily diet can help in providing nourishment to red blood cells, also help in maintaining brain function, and fighting excess inflammation.
Eating apples right in the morning after you wake up has proven to be very beneficial. Apples are a rich source of antioxidants mainly, quercetin, which has been studied to have reduced risk of lunCitrus fruitsg cancer. Apples are a powerful source of fiber, potassium, polyphenols, flavonoids, and vitamin C. an apple is low in calorie, about 47 calories per apple, making it a great food for weight loss with added benefits of being healthy and nutritive choice.
This has been the latest superfood trending in the market that has found its place due to its highly nutritive and health benefits. it can be used as the fine, velvety powdered form or as leaves of the Moringa tree which is native to India, Pakistan, and Nepal. It is highly packed with vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and amino acids. Moringa has long been used at native places to blood sugar and stabilizes histamine production, though the newer generations are not aware of this magical super green food. It is totally caffeine-free and makes for a fabulous natural energy booster, though it has that bitter or peppery flavor.
Dark green vegetables (e.g. kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, and Broccoli)
These are an excellent source of nutrients; folate, zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C and fiber. They have shown some proven effects on many chronic diseases. presence of high levels of anti-inflammatory compounds; carotenoids are found to be protective against certain types of cancer.
Kale has special cholesterol-lowering abilities, supports the body's detoxification systems and also has risk-lowering benefits for cancer. Collard greens have outshined other greens in reducing cholesterol due to its greater bile acid binding ability. swiss chard contains different types of antioxidants and flavonoids like syringic acid that has been widely researched for its blood sugar regulating properties. Brussel sprouts and broccoli provide special nutrient support against types of cancer.
Most of these have a bitter taste and they can be included in soups, salads, smoothies, stir-fries, and curries
Citrus fruits (e.g. oranges, lemon)
They are loaded with huge amounts of antioxidants and Vitamin C which provide benefits to digestive and respiratory systems. They are good for heart health, also, effective against diabetes and arthritis. They have flavonoids which have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer abilities. Citrus fruits also contain a huge amount of carotenoids, essential oils, other vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function well, including B vitamins, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and copper.
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines
Vegetables with bright or intense colors (e.g. beets, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and certain wild mushrooms)
Tomatoes are super food due to the presence of lycopene- cancer preventing pigment. It helps in protecting the skin against destructive UV rays, lowering cholesterol and is tumor resistant. They also contain high measures of fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious food loaded with potassium, fiber, vitamins A and C and carotenoid having strong antioxidant properties. They help in blood sugar control too. There are many edible varieties of mushrooms and they are rich sources of vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and several antioxidants which are not present in most other foods
Chia seeds are ancient seeds grown as an important food crop. These tiny seeds are nutritional powerhouses that are jam-packed with many nutrients and are non-animal-derived sources of omega-3 fatty acids. A tablespoonful of Chia seeds contains 2 gm of protein, 5 gm fiber, fats and carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, phosphorus too. Chia seeds have become a prominent topic of talk as it aids in weight loss due to the presence of a fiber that aids in digestion and prevents overeating creating of fullness for long. Along with weight loss, they have shown potential benefits in managing various diseases and health problems like diabetes, hypertension, and depression.
Seaweed is nutrient-rich sea vegetables which are most commonly consumed in Asia. They are of immense popularity owing to their nutritional value. Seaweeds are a house of multiple nutrients, like vitamin K, b vitamins, zinc, folate, iodine and fiber along with being a source of unique bioactive compounds with antioxidant effects. They have been proven to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, also, they help in protecting your cells from damage.
Whole grains (Quinoa, buckwheat, sorghum, amaranth, Millet, etc.)
The whole grains are being extensively used again as these are unrefined cereal grains. They contain the grain as a whole with its germ, endosperm, and bran intact. Quinoa, owing to its high protein content keeps fuller for longer aiding in weight loss. Also, being gluten-free and an excellent source of fiber, magnesium, and manganese, making them healthy and nutritious. Millets are also packed with fiber and contain higher amounts of essential minerals and have lower glycemic index than refined grains used nowadays. Buckwheat is complete protein also containing all nine essential amino acids as Amaranth which is healthy too as it contains all nine essential amino acids prominently lysine and overall has high protein content.
Many other food products can be used as superfood depending on their nutritional benefits. As superfood is just a marketing term for certain foods without any definite meaning and definition, all those foods that are healthy, nutritious and increase our immunity to fight diseases can be termed as SUPERFOODS.